The Scotiabank Women Initiative

Online negativity is draining your brand dollars  

If social media has taught us one thing, it’s that unfiltered content drives negativity.1 Without intentional moderation, platforms built on connecting people have – in the end – only polarized them.2+3

Here’s the thing, anger and divisiveness may encourage people to scroll (and troll!), but they don’t get people to buy.4

Negative environments make people less likely to remember, less likely to trust and less likely to purchase from brands.5+6

Pinterest research suggests that showing up in a more positive environment online drives impact at every stage of the purchase funnel. On Pinterest, you can reach more than 400 million people all over the world in a more positive environment.7 Whether you’re building brand awareness or driving conversions, it pays to be positive. Literally.

Positive by association

Amidst all the economic uncertainty during this global pandemic, positive context matters. It matters to your customers and to your brand’s bottom line. Positive online environments have a halo effect on the brands that show up there – from awareness and sentiment to trust and purchase.

People are tired of internet tiffs and trolls 

In the wake of an intense first half, Pinterest polled consumers to find out what they want from the internet right now. And they heard loud and clear that something new is being craved.

61% of Canadian adults surveyed, agree that some parts of the internet feel dark and intimidating these days, particularly where people and internet trolls are fighting or arguing over their beliefs – and they’re scared that it’s going to intensify.8

And they’re holding brands accountable 

People want a more inspired Internet. They’re seeking out positivity online more than ever before and they’re holding brands to the same standards. They look to their chosen brands to be noticeably accountable, responsible and positive.

72% of Canadian consumers surveyed in the last six months agree: “Brands and companies that I see placing their profits before people during this crisis will lose my trust forever.”9

Searches surging for positivity

Trending positive searches include: “spread positivity” (up 3x), “positive habits” and “positive mindset” (both up nearly 60%). People are seeking more positivity than ever.10

Nearly 6 in 10 weekly pinners in Canada say that Pinterest is an online oasis.11

Pinterest has always been a more positive place online. Since the pandemic began, that’s only become truer. Searches and interest in “positivity” on Pinterest have jumped nearly 65% since this time last year, reaching their highest levels in the platform’s history.12

Positivity starts with policy 

You can’t have a positive platform without proactive content policies. Pinterest has always had a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to harmful content and go the extra mile to ensure that it has no home on our platform.

They have industry-leading positions on content safety, and they invest heavily in measures like machine learning technology to maintain it. If there’s a search term that they’ve determined presents a risk, they’ll prevent your ads from appearing alongside it.

More positive → more efficient → more purchases 

In a post- COVID world, it’s a brand’s responsibility to advertise in safe, positive places.13 This isn’t only a moralistic argument, but it also supports the fact that when ads show up in a positive environment online, they can drive impact at every stage of the purchase funnel. 

92% of advertisers surveyed ranked Pinterest first on overall reputation amongst 8 leading platforms.14


From a platform responsibility point of view, they are the absolute leader in being a proactive responsible platform, both in terms of protecting users of the platform and the public at large and the interest of advertisers. And they absolutely don’t get enough credit for that.

– Joshua Lowcok, May 2020 in Forbes 


Whether you’re building brand awareness, consumer trust or driving conversions, it certainly does pay to be positive. 


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